I had a beard for the last 4 or 5 years of my witness career (a career which was obviously going nowheer). I once told my book study conductor "you guys (meaning the elder body) treat me worse than you would a pedophile" (in terms of having privileges in the congregation). This was well before I knew that it was not unlikely that they had a pedophile or two in then congregation that they knew of.
The CO had an odd take on my having a beard. He actually used me as an example, to say to the congregation something to the effect of "see that brother does his own thing, and that's fine, but he waits on Jehovah to move the organization to..." (? to what?)... (not sure how he phrased it, but it was sort of an acknowledgement that everyone knows the beard rule is batshit crazy, but it's still the right thing for the elders to prevent a beard wearer from being a full member of the congregation*).
Looking back, it seems as if he was saying "Mark's cool and beards should be fine, but no way am I going to put my status on the line by challenging this psuedo doctrine directly).
The truth is the treatment hurt me every single day I had the beard. But no way was I going to give in to such foul logic.
*btw, that is how I began phrasing my arguments back then, because the Witnesses all want to minimize what they really are doing with the beard rule. I would say "so if a worldly man, well respected in the community, wants to become a witness, you won't let him become a full member of the congregation, isn't that right?".
"Hem Haw" was the standard response.
IOW, my argument was, "why would a well respected worldly man with a beard be attracted to Jehovah, given that your argument for not allowing him to be a full part of Jehovah's organization is that 'men with beards aren't fully respected', when he in fact knows this argument to be bullshit both morally and objectively?".
Thanks for the reminder of what spineless people JW men are, Open Mind
*ps... someone up thread mentioned soul patches. The first time I grew a beard, I cut it after a week or two because I couldn't take the heat the elders immediately brought. But I left a soul patch. They were totally fine with that. CO especially thought it was cool.
I couldn't help but think, that much like the seersucker suit I wore on occasion and everyone seemed to love, the soul patch was much less common and "acceptable" at that point of time in "The World", than a beard or goatee was.